BACKLASH FOR BELARUS OVER FORCED PLANE DIVERSION AND ARREST

May 24, 2021

By Jeremy Logan

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Western outrage grew and the European Union threatened more sanctions Monday over the forced diversion of a plane to Belarus in order to arrest an opposition journalist.

The dramatic gambit apparently ordered by the country’s authoritarian president to suppress dissent was denounced as piracy, a hijacking and terrorism in the name of suppressing dissent.

Ryanair said Belarusian flight controllers told the crew there was a bomb threat against the plane as it was crossing through the country’s airspace and ordered it to land in the capital of Minsk.

The goal was seemingly the arrest of Raman Pratasevich, who played a key role in helping organize massive protests against Belarus’ authoritarian president.

The Belarusian Foreign Ministry said authorities had followed the law.

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